Change is a ‘must’

By DAVID ZIZZO, Staff Writer Published: October 3, 2009
Education is important to reduce your chances of heart disease. But it’s not enough, Dr. Jorge Saucedo says.

Saucedo’s nurses have extensive first-hand knowledge of the causes and effects of cardiovascular problems, but some still continue to smoke. Like some patients, the nurses say they know the dangers. They talk about quitting.

“Some do not want to. Some simply can’t,” said Saucedo, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

He’s seen the same resistance to change when it comes to exercise, another factor that can reduce risk of heart disease.

People say they don’t have the time. Or their knees hurt. “Unfortunately people tend to try to come up with many excuses,” he said. “There is always something.”

To really reduce your chances of heart disease takes a commitment, a change of lifestyle, he said. And there are many things that can help, from becoming more active to changing what you eat and drink (a few rich coffees and sodas can give you a day’s worth of calories.)

“You don’t need to starve to death. You need to be smarter about what you eat.”

But Saucdeo said Oklahoma is doing little to battle one of the most important risk factors, diabetes, and too many people ignore their diets and their cholesterol levels.

“We are falling way short of where we need to be,” he said. “I am not optimistic.”

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